Monday 18 February 2013

PIRANHA 3DD (2012)

Piranha 3DD’s director John Gulager signals his intentions to deliver on the 'doubling-up' promise of this sequel right from the off by enlisting two veteran actors in cameos for the pre-credit mayhem. In Alexandre Aja's 2010 reboot we were treated to Richard Dreyfuss in a not-so-subtle nod to Jaws. This time we get the double delight of Gary Busey and the director's dad Clu Gulager wading into a dark lake to investigate a dead floating slab of livestock (deadstock?).

Previously, we were treated to the gloriously gross stereoscopic sight of Jerry O'Connell's character's chewed off penis floating in front of our eyes before being gobbled down and then promptly spat out by a discerning razor-toothed beastie. In Piranha 3DD, we get coitus piranhas interruptus thanks to one deadly fishy swimming against the spawning incoming sperm and exiting through a vagina and latching itself onto an unfortunate chaps love gristle (thereby turning it decidedly grisly). But that's not enough for Piranha 3DD, so he decides to chop it off at the stem. We then double-up with a 3D close-up of a piranha wedged into the backside of one chap whose favourite past time appears to be pleasuring himself with the aid of the suction from the pools outflow pipe.

Christopher Lloyd is back to provide further pearls of piranha wisdom (with the aid of a helpless frog at one point), and David Hassel (The Hoff) Hoff sends himself up mercilessly playing himself playing a lifeguard. Ving Rhames returns sans legs but improvises with a Rose McGowan Planet Terror like customisation to blast a few of the biting blighters. Amongst all the mayhem and the obligatory gratuitous DD nudity, Danielle Panabaker makes a sterling effort of trying to deliver her lines with a straight face and I'm pleased to report she survives this aquatic onslaught unlike her 2009 reboot trip to Camp Crystal Lake (Friday the 13th). She does however have to suffer the indignity of a bath scene, the raison d'ĂȘtre for which I'll give the director Gulager the benefit of the doubt over and suggest it’s an intentional homage to Heather Langenkamp's NOES tub shot and Barbara Steele's encounter with David Cronenberg's parasites from Shivers.

The piranha themselves hiss, growl and turn menacingly toward the camera as implausibly as you'd expect, but even though they often seem capable of leaping huge distances to lunge into the audiences face they aren't given wings ala James Cameron's Piranha II: Flying Killers – (should’ve remade that in 3D instead of ‘dances with smurfs’ Jim) although that's not to say they aren't evolving in another major way according to the final reveal...

Overall, I have to be honest and say I had a real blast watching 'Piranha 3DD'. Having the advantage of not needing to explain the piranha's existence it wastes little exposition time and gets down to the mayhem right from the off. The 3D photography, despite exhibiting 'ghosting' in certain scenes, really stands out (sorry) during the shock set-pieces and the gimmick seems to be utilised far more than in the previous effort. The gore effects are as cheesy as the film itself, but as cinematic junk food goes it delivers the ketchup (and the buns), slap bang in your face, and for me that's all I want from a movie entitled: Piranha 3DD – so bite me!

***(out of 5*)

Paul Worts